Getting Cash Abroad | Best Way to Exchange Currency When Visiting Another Country

Sharing buttons:

Hi there, it's Ernest from Trip Astute. Today's topic: getting cash abroad.

(light chiming music)

Most people know that I prefer using credit cards when traveling, especially

internationally. However, there are times when cash is the only option, and in

those cases, getting cash when you arrive in the country makes a lot of

sense. You've probably seen the currency exchange booths at the airport.

They look pretty convenient. You walk down the terminal and you see a little booths

with a bunch of exchange rates and you think, "wow that's an easy way to exchange

cash." Well, there's a catch. The exchange rates and fees of those booths are

generally pretty unfavorable. That's why I avoid them at all costs. A better way

to get cash when you're traveling abroad is to use the ATM. Even if the ATM

charges you a transaction fee, it's generally less than what the exchange

boosts will charge you. Plus you're getting a much better exchange rate when

using the ATMs. Still you may want to check with your bank to see what the

fees are. I've included a link below that shows some of the fees for the major US

banks. If you're really savvy, I would suggest finding a debit card that doesn't charge

you a fee, or that reimburses you for any overseas fees. One such product is the

Charles Schwab High Interest Checking Account, which includes a debit card that

reimburses all ATM fees, both domestic and international. it's a great card to

carry, and I usually load it up before my trips overseas. What I usually do is

actually carry my normal banking debit card and leave it in the hotel

safe, so I still have it in case I need it. But my general everyday debit card when

traveling overseas is my Schwab debit card. And what I like about it is that it

adds a little extra buffer between my normal checking and what I need for my

trip. So if my card gets stolen or if I misplace it, I'm not as concerned about

it as I would be if I lost my primary debit card.

Before your next trip though, here are some tips to keep in mind when getting

money from the ATM. Number one: research how much money you plan to withdraw

from the ATM. I can't tell you how many times I've been to the ATM and try to

withdraw money, only to be completely confused at how much the exchange rate

is. I'll see things listed in the local currency and wonder how much is it to

withdraw the equivalent of forty dollars or maybe twenty dollars. You can save

yourself the trouble by looking it up in advance on an app or on a board. The

bottom line is just have an idea of how much the exchange rate is. It'll save you

a little bit of trouble when you actually withdraw money. Number two: look

for ATMs with official logos. In general, I find that the larger banks have more

reliable ATMs. I've been in situations where I've tried to withdraw money from

a convenience store or gas station, only to have the ATM freeze or completely

reject my transaction. I've even been in airports where I've used a smaller bank

and my transaction has completely failed. So my general rule of thumb is try to

stick to larger banks. You'll probably have a better chance of getting a

successful ATM withdrawal. Number three: use ATMs in more high traffic areas. In

general, you're less likely to get mugged in a place where there's a lot of people.

That being said, I've heard stories of people being mugged in airports and in

other locations where there's a lot of tourists, so just keep your your wits

about you. You never know who may be around the corner or who may be scoping out

the ATM, so always have your guard up whenever you're getting cash from the

ATM. Number four: look for any tampering on the ATM itself. Make sure that the ATM

hasn't been altered in any way. One of the most common scams is for thieves to

install a swiper in the card reader. Just make sure to take a look at your ATM and

make sure that there aren't any visible signs of tampering or alterations to the

machine. And lastly, number five: notify the banks of any travel plans that you might

have, especially if you're going international.

The last thing you want to do is to travel abroad, go to the ATM, and have all

your accounts shut down or put on hold because you didn't notify the banks that

you are traveling. Take the extra second. You can usually do it online, or if you

can't do it online, just call the bank or your credit union and let them know your

travel plans. It'll save you a huge headache when you travel. Anyway, those

are some quick tips on getting cash when abroad. I've included some helpful links

below, especially one to the Charles Schwab High Interest Checking Account, in

case you're interested in applying. Also, if you have any tips or any questions,

please add them to the comment section below. As always, if you like this video,

please click the button below and hit subscribe as well. Until next time, travel

safe and travel smart.